Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The whole Epiphany thing

As I was considering the Magi episode, as we were taking down the Christmas stuff--I'm not sure if it's an Iberic thing or a Catholic thing to start doing so on 1/6--I noticed the elements of the whole thing and how they apply to Mr.--or Dr., Miss, Mrs., etc.--Modern Christian. (No relation to Fletcher Christian, sorry.)

Let us, for the purposes of this discussion, take as correct the traditional assumption the Magi were Kings; let's now see what happened from their perspective and how it applies to us today, OK?

We all know they "saw His star in the east" and came schlepping along. Cool. Great. Got that. But wait! How did they know it was His star? They have to had some knowledge that allowed them to say:

Melchior: Aha! There's the star!
Gaspar: That's right! Better get a move on. Hey, Balthazar, saddle up the camels and the dromedary.
Balthazar: Why is it always me?
Melchior: Quit whining, we have a Messiah to greet...and YOU always get the dromedary.
Gaspar: Hey! Don't forget your myrrh.
Balthazar: Got it. Just wish I could buy a vowel.

So where did that knowledge come from? We can't assume it was directly infused into their brains, but it seems logical they, like us, had some scriptural (possibly even Scriptural) knowledge of this. This was sufficient knowledge to get them going.

Which is the other, and to my mind the biggest, thing. They got going. God has given us, in Christ, His salvation for the world. Which, y'know, rules. But what God has not done is:

1- Cram that salvation down our throats (more on that another time)
2- Told us to call 1-800-SAVIOUR and our salvation will be conveniently delivered to us at our doorstep.

The Magi were up to speed on that and they left all of the comforts of life back in Midia, Persia, Pamphylia or wherever Magi come from to go on an arduous journey following a star (not even Him, just a star) so that they could come face-to-face with Jesus and--watch this, now--pay Him homage. Notice they didn't say "A Messiah. Cool. Bring Him right over." They sought the Christ. Not such a cute and cuddly story now, is it?

Likewise, we are called to drop what we are doing, leave our material comforts and follow the signs (you may not get an actual star, so don't panic, awright?) until we meet Him and then pay Him homage. Notice this is not an obligatory episode. We don't have to do jack. We don't have to acknowledge Him, drop our comfy-cozy setup, traverse afar or any of that. We also don't have to spend the rest of eternity with Him, but hey, y'know, whatever flicks your switch.

Oh, and when you pay Him homage, remember to do so out of love and gratitude and joy, not because, like, you have to, m'kay?

-J.

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